relative pronouns that, which, and who and verb sequence
I have a question about my rationale for eliminating choices C and D for the following question:
Scientists have been attempting to produce photosynthesis in the lab, engaging in research
that may yield new technologies that capture the Sun’s energy.
(A) that capture
(B) which captures
(C) that has captured
(D) to be capturing
(E) who capture
Choice (A) is correct. “That” refers to a thing—“technologies.” The adjective clause “that capture” modifies and restricts the type of technologies you are talking about. Without “that capture,” the meaning of the sentence changes. Without them, you would be talking about research that yields new technologies Choice (B) is incorrect. The sentence does not have subject-verb agreement. Although “which” can be used in a restrictive clause where the antecedent is a thing, the verb “captures” is incorrect. “Technologies” is a plural noun requiring a plural verb. The correct verb form is “capture.” Choice (C) is incorrect. Although “that” can be used in a restrictive clause where the antecedent is a thing, the verb phrase “that has captured” is incorrect. This sentence has a verb sequence error. The verb phrase is in the independent clause and is used to show that scientists’ attempt to produce photosynthesis in the lab started in the past and has continued up until now. The verb “have been attempting” is present perfect progressive/present perfect continuous and is followed by the infinitive “to produce.” In English, the present perfect continuous verb tense uses 3 kinds of verbs, 2 auxiliary verbs (have +”to be” ) and 1 main verb in the +ing form (attempting). The dependent clause has two verb phrases. The first verb phrase: “may” is used as a helping or auxiliary verb in conjunction with the verb “yield” to express shades of time. “May yield” expresses the possibility that new technologies will be produced from research. The event has not happened yet. The second verb phrase: The verb “has captured” is the present perfect, and incorrectly expresses a fact— the “new technologies” have already captured the Sun’s energy. We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The verb tenses must be used in sequence. The Rule violated: When the independent clause verb is in the present perfect tense, the dependent clause verb can be a present tense verb, a past tense verb or a future tense verb. Choice (D) is incorrect. Choice (D) does not have a relative pronoun and attempts to use the infinitive “to be” and present participle “capturing” to modify the noun “technologies. The dependent clause verb should use the infinitive “to capture” to correctly modify the noun. Choice (E) is incorrect. The relative pronoun “who” is used when the antecedent is a person or an animal with a name. Since the antecedent is “technologies,” “who” is incorrect.
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